Monday, April 28, 2014

STUCK and hoping my way out of it

Stuck…have you ever just felt stuck? Stuck in a situation that you hold little control over? Presently that’s where I stand. Going on our third week in the hospital little Penelope has only spent half a day of her life outside these walls, you can maybe see why I feel stuck. Ultimately I know God holds the key to being unstuck but I can’t seem to figure out what to do in the mean time. I've felt so supported by friends and family in this time, but I also feel a little bit in survival just don't cry for two more days and by then we'll be home and we can breathe a sigh of relief. Except, there isn't a near end in sight, we're still going through lots of tests and scans to figure this whole thing out. So in my “stuck” I’m just waiting…not sure that’s the best choice but honestly I feel like that’s all I can handle right now. I wait and I trust that He will make me strong and restore me along the way.

I haven’t been clinging to much scripture in all this mess but just this morning Isaiah 40:31 popped into my head, "but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will rise up on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint". After writing half of this post a friend brought me the most delicious lunch along with some prayer and scripture for me and Nelly and guess what verse she felt God say was for me.... you guessed it Isaiah 40:31. Don't you just love when God does stuff like that? HE HEARS US... and then just in case we forget he sends friends to remind us that HE HEARS US.

So dwelling on this verse I can say- Surely my hope is in the Lord and not man, but I feel led to pray specifically for the renewed strength… the strength to run and not grow weary, to walk and not faint. Frankly right now I'm sort of laughing at God thinking, you better bring it because you know it's not coming from me, my strength is about gone and I am entering into that, "I'm so tired, look at how bad we've got it... why haven't you healed her yet" state of mind.

  And then when I'm done crying I let down my pride and I just ask: Lord would you bring renewal my way? Even though I feel stuck and don’t know the way out of this mess, I know who you are and I know your word. I put all my hope in you, I trust you God! I trust that you will not give me more than I can handle, and I trust your timing and purpose in it all… So I’m hoping in Him and asking for renewal and on days like this when I feel that’s all I can manage, maybe that’s all He expects from us.

 Thinking maybe I'm not the only who needs a little encouragement today I made a #scripturedoodle of this verse and you can download a free printable version here

Thanks again to everyone for your prayers and support 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I used to paint for myself...

I used to paint for myself... when I was in high school and college I think I made some of my most creative work. I felt such a freedom in what to create. There may have been guidelines from a professor but not rules, they felt like a blueprint of possibilities.
a painting of my bearded beau from my college days... one of my all time favorites
But most of the time there was also no buyer... no client to fund the life of the artist.  Over time My work funneled mostly into live "worship art" if you will, paintings for events and church services, a different style from my studio work but still fueling the look of my style as a whole and work as an artist. My live work would bring commissions from families based on scripture having a similar style. Vibrant colors usually nature inspired with scripture throughout. I really love this work, the look of it (although I often say its not something I would hang in my house). I love painting for families and letting the Holy Spirit lead my brush and inspire me. Here is one of my favorites:

I lovingly refer to this piece as the "Antonelli Painting" painted for a sweet family

Somewhere along the way though.... I've lost it, not my desire to create but my ability to do so in freedom. Where has it gone???? I don't have the answer, but I think it's a mixture of the pressures to bring in a paycheck and trying to make work that will sell. I also feel this odd and annoying pressure to "be someone" on social media and have a great following hoping it will fuel a successful art business. Over the past year anytime I make work these questions run through my brain, What do people want to see? what's trendy? What else is out there? How are other people doing it? And it is so draining. I never used to think that way, I was only thinking, what did God want me to create? What did he want to say to the people who would see my art? Surely one can't always disregard the thought of marketing or the "client" but in my heart of hearts and in a "perfect" world I dream that I can make art that is truly inspired by God that I love and that other people will be blessed by. And I think that's what God wants for me. For him to be my guide and number one source of inspiration. I know he wants to release from me that comparison and drive for "success," but I'm not there yet. I see progress and the goal, but I've not reached it.

So my prayer in this next season is that God would guide me and discipline my heart. Guide me to receive inspiration only from HIM and not from what I see others doing or what I "think" will be successful. I pray he would discipline my heart in my creativity. Knowing He is the source I pray He would pour into me his creativity. That He would be made more famous through my work.

the backgrounds coming along for my new series

Last week I decided to try something I haven't done in a couple years. I decided to start a new series, just for me. Something new, and different in a style that maybe wouldn't be my normal go to. I just want some freedom in my creativity. Thanks to the incredible support of my husband he said, "just do it, just make art that you love and don't worry about whether it will sell or not, just create something. God is our provider after all, not ourselves but Him.  So here I go... and this is the test. I'm seeking God asking what he would have me create but I am also creating for me, painting for myself for the love of the game. God is faithful always and I know his faithfulness remains in my journey through my art. Just yesterday I finally got some solid inspiration on the direction for these pieces and I'm super excited about it, can't wait to share more.